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Aristophanes Index


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THE CLOUDS by Aristophanes, Part 11

CHORUS (singing)
Ponder and examine closely, gather your thoughts together, let
your mind turn to every side of things; if you meet with a difficulty,
spring quickly to some other idea; above all, keep your eyes away from
all gentle sleep.
STREPSIADES (singing)
Ow, Wow, Wow, Wow is me!
CHORUS (singing)
What ails you? why do you cry so?
STREPSIADES
Oh! I am a dead man! Here are these cursed Corinthians advancing
upon me from all corners of the couch; they are biting me, they are
gnawing at my sides, they are drinking all my blood, they are
yanking of my balls, they are digging into my arse, they are killing
me!
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Not so much wailing and clamour, if you please.
STREPSIADES
How can I obey? I have lost my money and my complexion, my blood
and my slippers, and to cap my misery, I must keep awake on this
couch, when scarce a breath of life is left in me.
(A brief interval of silence ensues.)
SOCRATES
Well now! what are you doing? are you reflecting?
STREPSIADES
Yes, by Posidon!
SOCRATES
What about?
STREPSIADES
Whether the bugs will entirely devour me.
SOCRATES
May death seize you, accursed man!
(He turns aside again.)
STREPSIADES
Ah it has already.
SOCRATES
Come, no giving way! Cover up your head; the thing to do is to
find an ingenious alternative.
STREPSIADES
An alternative! ah! I only wish one would come to me from within
these coverlets!
(Another interval of silence ensues.)
SOCRATES
Wait! let us see what our fellow is doing! Ho! are you asleep?
STREPSIADES
No, by Apollo!
SOCRATES
Have you got hold of anything?
STREPSIADES
No, nothing whatever.
SOCRATES
Nothing at all?
STREPSIADES
No, nothing except my tool, which I've got in my hand.
SOCRATES
Aren't you going to cover your head immediately and ponder?
STREPSIADES
On what? Come, Socrates, tell me.
SOCRATES
Think first what you want, and then tell me.
STREPSIADES
But I have told you a thousand times what I want. Not to pay any
of my creditors.
SOCRATES
Come, wrap yourself up; concentrate your mind, which wanders to
lightly; study every detail, scheme and examine thoroughly.
STREPSIADES
Alas! Alas!
SOCRATES
Keep still, and if any notion troubles you, put it quickly
aside, then resume it and think over it again.
STREPSIADES
My dear little Socrates!
SOCRATES
What is it, old greybeard?
STREPSIADES
I have a scheme for not paying my debts.
SOCRATES
Let us hear it.
STREPSIADES
Tell me, if I purchased a Thessalian witch, I could make the
moon descend during the night and shut it, like a mirror, into a round
box and there keep it carefully....
SOCRATES
How would you gain by that?
STREPSIADES
How? why, if the moon did not rise, I would have no interest to
pay.
SOCRATES
Why so?
STREPSIADES
Because money is lent by the month.

 

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Aristophanes Index

 

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